Nitrates in drinking water

Governor Terry Branstad and the Iowa State Senate and House of Representatives, High levels of nitrates(more than 10 ppm) in drinking water is a health risk to certain individuals, including infants 6 months of age and pregnant women. Stomach acids converts NO3, nitrate, to NO2, nitrite, which is absorbed into blood. This causes hemoglobin, the part of blood that carries oxygen, to be converted to methemoglobin, which does not carry oxygen effectively. This results in a reduced oxygen supply to the brain and other vital tissues. According to Colorado State University Extension (http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/crops/00517.html), “Pregnant women, adults with reduced stomach acidity, and people deficient in the enzyme that changes methemoglobin back to normal hemoglobin are all susceptible to nitrite-induced methemoglobinemia. The most obvious symptom of methemoglobinemia is a bluish color of the skin, particularly around the eyes and mouth.” Although no direct danger exists to Iowa, we are creating a dead zone farther south in the Mississippi River and in the Gulf of Mexico where there is an unhealthy level of nitrate, lowering oxygen levels. This causes creatures that live in water to flee, causing low fish catches. In addition, we spend tens of millions of dollars filtering water in the Des Moines area alone. The biggest sources of nitrates are farms. Runoff from farms are full of nitrate, due to excessive fertilizer use(with the "advantage" of being a free disposal of animal waste), neglect of use of nitrogen stabilizers, refusal to make “buffer zones” between the farm and the river, and having tiles on the bottom of the farm(a system in where excess water flows out of the farm). Other sources of nitrate include septic tanks, cemeteries, and pet waste. We can solve or mitigate these problems: require cities with more than a preset population limit(such as 10,000), put caskets that lay in places with high water tables in concrete/watertight vaults, and creating and enforcing strict pet poop laws state. BY SIGNING THIS PETITION, I PLEDGE that I will help fight the nitrate problem by: 1. Referring your family/friends to this site 2. Asking farmers to remove farm tile, create buffer zones, not use excessive fertilizer, and use nitrogen stabilizers 3. Clean up after pets 4. Do not waste water(lowering the amount of water needed to filter) Remember, one million starts with one. Thank you.

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The 8th grade social studies class at Central Academy in Des Moines, Iowa

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